Google has hit out at Viacom’s £1bn lawsuit against video sharing site YouTube for “threatening” internet freedom. The search giant’s claim comes in legal papers submitted to a Manhattan court.
Viacom, which also owns the Paramount Comedy and Nickelodeon TV networks, started legal proceedings against YouTube-owner Google in March last year because it failed to keep copyrighted material off the site. It suggested it use of such material is “illegal”.
Viacom says it has identified 150,000 unauthorised clips on YouTube, from shows including MTV Unplugged, SpongeBob SquarePants and South Park. It adds the infringement also included the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, which had been viewed “an astounding 1.5 billion times”.
It filed an amended version of the case last month because it claims that its “vast library” of copyright matertial is the cornerstone of its business plan and its use elsewhere could reduce revenues.
In court documents lodged on Friday (May 23), Google’s lawyers say the action “threatens the way hundreds of millions of people legitimately exchange information” over the internet. It also maintains that YouTube had been faithful to the requirements of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and that they responded properly to claims of infringement.
YouTube launched an anti-piracy tool in October last year that checks uploaded video against original content in an effort to flag piracy, although detractors say the measures did not go far enough. Google bought YouTube in 2006 for $1.6bn in shares.